Robert Hardy No Longer Churchill in The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre
Actor Withdrawing from West End Show Due to Injury with Understudy David Peart Stepping in Temporarily
The show is due to officially open next week after previews began earlier this month, but already a casting change has emerged for the anticipated production of The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre. Robert Hardy, the Harry Potter actor who has been portraying Winston Churchill in the show, is taking the decision to step down after an accident left him with cracked ribs. His understudy David Peart will step in until a full time replacement can be found.
Hardy had already performed on some nights following the accident but has now taken the decision to step down. The actor is best known for screen roles in the likes of All Creatures Great & Small and the Harry Potter series, though he has also impressed in roles like Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years, The Sittaford Mystery, War And Remembrance and Bomber Harris, all of which saw him portray the former British Prime Minister he played in The Audience. His other credits include Hot Metal, Elizabeth R and His Master’s Voice, among others, though his work as Churchill will have been his main selling point when it comes to his appearance in the West End.
Audiences picking up theatre tickets will still get to see another screen actor reprises a film role onstage, however, as Helen Mirren will continue as Queen Elizabeth II. She show depicts the meetings between her and the Prime Ministers appointed to office during her reign with writer Peter Morgan (who penned The Queen) imagining what was said during these conversations. As well as Hardy as Churchill, many other names had been announced in the roles of other Prime Ministers of the time – Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher and Paul Ritter as John Major. They will continue in the roles.
The Audience, having begun previews on Friday 15th February 2013, will run at the Gielgud Theatre from Tuesday 5th March 2013 to Saturday 15th June 2013. After that, the venue will become the home of the Noel Coward play Private Lives.